A couple of nights ago, we went over to Freestone’s at six. The bar was pretty full, and a courteous older man moved over so we could sit in two contiguous seats. I ordered scallops, and Carol drank orange juice and tonic water (she had eaten earlier, so she stole from my plate instead of ordering). We chatted about this and that, the bar emptied out, and eventually we wound up chatting with the courteous man who had moved over for us. He was from Boston, “an old Boston Brahmin family,” he said. We agreed that the world view of Bostonians ends at the Connecticut River. He told us that when he had gone to UCLA to do doctoral work, an elderly relative of his had exclaimed: Poor boy, you’ll be so far from the ocean out there. “She didn’t realize that there’s another whole ocean out there! It’s even bigger than the ocean here!” he said. Now I have heard this exact same anecdote told any number of times, but never with the level of detail he brought to it: he gave the name of the person who had said it and when she had said it, and he claimed to be a direct witness because she had said it to him. Perhaps he had worked this old anecdote into his own memories of leaving New England; perhaps the incident as he told it was actually the original of that now-widespread anecdote; perhaps his elderly relative had heard the anecdote and used it knowingly, with that extremely dry humor of some elder New Englanders which young people take too literally. So I just had to tell him the anecdote about Mrs. Cabot of Boston, who had to entertain Mrs. Smith of Ohio while Mr. Cabot did business with Mr. Smith; Mrs. Cabot said, “And where did you say you come from, Mrs. Smith?”; “Ohio,” said Mrs. Smith; whereupon Mrs. Cabot said, “Mrs. Smith, here in Boston we pronounce it ‘Iowa’.” He did not particularly care for my anecdote, perhaps because it was all too evidently made up.